The people’s champ triumphs in record-smashing Valley Cup

November 10, 2017
by Michael Howard
Lennytheshark and Chris Alford claimed the Yarra Valley Pacing Cup.

History was rewritten when two-time Victorian Horse of the Year Lennytheshark obliterated a track record and captured the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Pacing Cup.

With quality pacers My Field Marshall, Tee Cee Bee Macray and Messini breathing down his neck, David Aiken’s Perth-bound eight-year-old produced 26.9 and 27.3 third and fourth quarters to register a 1:55.4 mile rate.

The mark slashed 4.7 seconds off the record set by Restrepo in last year’s cup, delighting Aiken who labelled it the perfect hit-out before Lennytheshark flies west on Sunday week to chase a second Inter Dominion.

Champion reinsman Chris Alford improved Lennytheshark’s positioning from a second-row gate to the lead soon after the start and said “once he found the front he was always in control and travelled along nicely”.

“He felt really sharp, he probably got to the front a little bit quicker than I expected,” Alford said.

“He had them all off the bit at the bend but, as he sort of does, he had a walk around on the straight, looking at the big screen and that, and he was still going good on the line.”

My Field Marshall sat parked for much of the race and hit the line just 3.9m shy of Lennytheshark while Messini tracked Tee Cee Bee Macray three-wide on the last lap and both ran on well to finish close in fourth and third positions respectively.

Connections of all would have departed buoyed by their horse’s output, with the talented foursome gapping the chasing pack by almost 20m. And all four look set to have super summers ahead.

Messini and My Field Marshall share the Trots Country Cups Championship lead with fellow cup winners Lennytheshark and San Carlo after three rounds, while Thursday delivered Tee Cee Bee Macray’s first points in the championship.

For Lennytheshark, the focus now turns to Perth where he will attempt to replicate his 2015 triumph and avenge the disappointments of last season, when injury led to his scratching.

“Different series, new horses to conquer like Lazarus etcetera, but I just go by how David talks about him at the moment,” Alford said. “He doesn’t think he’s ever had him any better. Going into the series, three runs – we know he can handle that and hopefully we have a bit of luck over there.

“It’s just great to be associated with a horse like this. Little kids come up and want to give him a pat and get their sharks signed.  It gets a bit emotional, you don’t want to see him beaten, but hopefully we can go over to Perth and give it our best.”

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